The X-Files: Ice

Mulder and Scully stand on an airfield base with the guest characters in the X-Files epsidode Ice.
Trust, Identity, and Contagion in the Arctic: Bring Your Mittens

Ice: Season 1 Episode 8
Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong, Directed by David Nutter
First aired November 5, 1993

Ice is intimidating to write about. Like Squeeze, it’s one of the most famous episodes of The X-Files. There are also a lot of layers to it. I don’t have a favorite from Season One, but Ice is definitely in my top five. Unlike Shadows, this episode written by Morgan and Wong is character driven, nuanced, and complex.

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The X-Files: Ghost in the Machine

Mulder and Scully in Ghost in the Machine.In which Mulder and Scully battle an evil computer. Yup.

Ghost in the Machine: Season 1 Episode 7
Written by Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon, Directed by Jerrold Freedman
First aired October 29, 1993

I don’t know whether it makes me more nostalgic or sad to remember how afraid we were of computers in the early 90s. In the intervening years we’ve learned a tough truth: it’s not the computers you need to be afraid of. It’s the people who use them.

But let’s revisit a simpler, more innocent time: Clinton is in office. Laptops are as thick as phonebooks and only half as useful. The only thing you need to worry about is that computers are obviously going to develop self awareness and kill us all. Sounds reasonable.

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The X-Files: Shadows

Mulder and Scully stand side by side in an autopsy room.In which Mulder and Scully chase at spectral phenomenon and psychokinetic manipulation.

Shadows: Season 1 Episode 6
Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong, Directed by Michael Lange
First aired October 22, 1993

I’ve noticed a trend in my reviews thus far: I love talking about the Deeper Meaning of each episode. That’s not gonna happen with Shadows, because there are no depths to be mined here. It’s just an X-File.

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The X-Files: Jersey Devil

Mulder and Scully requisition a car in Jersey Devil. In which Mulder and Scully meet the Devil.

Jersey Devil: Season 1 Epsiode 5
Written by Chris Carter, Directed by Joe Napolitano
First aired October 8, 1993

There are a number of episodes, especially from the earlier seasons, that hold a special place in my heart because I watched them back when I was thirteen and still new to the series. I wasn’t as discerning an audience member then, so I loved them whether they were good or not. Which is why I love this episode, even though I know a lot of people find it embarrassing.

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The X-Files: Conduit

Scully and Mulder in ConduitMulder has to know.

Conduit: Season 1 Episode 4
Written by Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon, Directed by Daniel Sackheim
First aired October 1, 1993

Conduit is a tricky episode. On the surface it seems simple: a girl with a brother disappears in a case that suggests aliens, which triggers Mulder’s Samantha Complex. That in and of itself would make for a decent episode—I love the first season for spending more time looking at the long-term effects of Mulder’s trauma than faking us out with the possibilities of what “really” happened to Samantha. But there’s more to Conduit than just rehashing Mulder’s pain.

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The X-Files: My Struggle II

The title card for the Season 10 Finale, "My Struggle II," is shown. It reads "THIS IS THE END."Not sure. Not fine. Not whatever. Fuck you Carter.

Season 10, Episode 6: My Struggle II
Written by Chris Carter, Directed by Chris Carter
First Aired: February 22, 2016


Well, here we are. After all the anticipation, the doubt and fear and hope and excitement, the final puzzle piece of the revival has fallen into place. Unless and until we get information about Season 11, this is it. 

After Babylon I went into this episode with equal measures of hope and hostility. I want to be clear: I had high hopes for this episode. I had high hopes for every episode in the revival, but especially for this one: with no Season 11 confirmed, this could very well be the very last time I ever saw Mulder and Scully. Not only did I want to love this episode, I wanted it to be the best episode of The X-Files ever made.

I’m left feeling so conflicted. Because as an episode, it has its flaws but I kind of like it. But as the last? This episode is the worst conclusion to a twenty-years long story imaginable.
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The X-Files: Babylon

Mulder and Scully in Babylon

Season 10, Episode 5: Babylon
Written by Chris Carter, Directed by Chris Carter
First Aired: February 16, 2016


I’ll be honest: I did not enjoy this episode. Even with their imperfections I’ve enjoyed every single episode up until now, but this was awful. I was offended by “Babylon’s” politics and horrified by its dialogue and characterization. And as usual in Carter episodes, the plot makes no sense. After looking forward to the revival for almost a year, I’m angry at this catastrophe episode on a personal level. There were a few enjoyable moments (courtesy of Mulder/Scully/Duchovny/Anderson, who are doing their best with the material as always) but there’s not much nice to say here. This is a rant, my darlings.

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The X-Files: Home Again

Mulder shines a flashlight as he and Scully walk through a dark hallway.

Season 10, Episode 4: Home Again
Written by Glen Morgan, Directed by Glen Morgan
First Aired: February 8, 2016

Okay, fair warning: this episode hit me very hard. My Dad died last April, which means that my reading of this episode is going to be very personal. I wasn’t sure I could write about it at all, or whether it would be a good idea if I did. But I watched the episode again today, and I’m gonna give it a shot.

  • This episode is fucking fantastic, first of all. Very difficult for me to watch, but fantastic nonetheless. Of the two Morgan brothers, I prefer Glen every time (sorry D). Glen Morgan and James Wong write Scully wonderfully, and they’re also really good at Scully’s Mulder. (Does that make sense? I mean who Mulder is to Scully, why she values him and how he enriches her life/is enriched by her.)
  • The scene of the homeless people being hosed down is uncomfortably realistic, and I like that The X-Files is portraying gentrification as evil. Because it is.

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The X-Files: Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster: Season 10 Episode 3
Written by Darin Morgan, Directed by Darin Morgan
First aired February 1, 2016


I was a little worried about this episode. Darin Morgan and I have a tempestuous past. I sometimes love him and occasionally hate him. That’s probably an unpopular opinion within The X-Files fandom, but, look. I know he’s a great writer. I just resent it when he gets smug, because I can see right through him. I’ve taken two degrees in English at this point—I’m too old and grumpy for pretentious bullshit. Fortunately for me and for everyone, this episode is brilliant and I fucking loved it.

  • So I’m not even going to call them Easter eggs. They’re too sweet. I’m calling them Peanut Butter Meltaways. (If you don’t know what those are, you’ve never been to Pittsburgh/haven’t lived. Google ’em.) First up:
    • As soon as I saw the stoners’ faces I squealed: “That’s never the stoners from season 3?!” But it was. It was them. And they were perfect. Thank you Nicole Parker-Smith and Tyler Labine.
  • I did love seeing him rifling through case files; the nostalgia factor was similar to seeing Scully doing an autopsy.

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